Letter to the Editor, Jan 2. 2013
Guns may not kill people, but do they solve problems?
EDITOR: Did you fact check Mr. Miller's claim that. "Many lives are saved by the presence of a firearm approximately 2500 times per year"? ("A survivor" Dec. 22, 2012) If so, could you point me to some of these human interest stories? All I found on the NRA site, which I thought would surely list a bunch, was one sketchy description of an anonymous Detroit resident who alleged chased off two muggers.
Guns have been used to inflict mass deaths in Newtown, Tucson, the University of Texas in Austin and far too many other cases. One can also find countless cases where guns led to tragic escalation of domestic disputes; accidental shootings, including those involving children finding and playing with guns; as well as cases where police or firemen have been bushwhacked. I think it is high time that those who claim that people with guns save lives provided some evidence.
No, we will never eliminate gun violence, nor will we eliminate auto accident fatalities, but we have made progress reducing the latter while the former continues to spiral insanely. In addition to a lack of documented cases where the presence of a gun demonstrably saved lives, there are no concrete positive suggestions for tackling the problem of gun violence coming from the NRA or gun enthusiasts like Miller.
NRA's LaPierre claims the only way to protect our children is with armed guards. Why not store them in a vault? Doesn't he know that there was armed security at Columbine, Virginia Tech and Tucson? I think he does. And I think he also knows that proper gun control would be far more effective. But LaPierre is a paid shill of the manufacturers who profiteer from the gun cult. Thanks to those like LaPierre who cynically exploit a quasi-religious worship of guns, we have far more rational regulations for cars and prescription drugs than we do for lethal weapons.
Wouldn't the founders have been much more rigorous in their wording of the 2nd amendment if they had glimpsed or anticipated the vast increase in lethal force over the past 130 odd years and the resulting slaughters of innocents? Maybe the 2nd amendment should only apply to the muzzle loaders and pistols they were familiar with? If not, why shouldn't it cover tanks, jets and ICBMs? It is simply not reasonable to parrot something which was reasonable in the eighteenth century to justify a supposed right to twenty first century fire power. Nor is it acceptable to allow obstructionists to prevent proper regulation by pointing to the morass of ineffective laws they themselves are largely responsible for.
If there had been a national database of rifling patterns, could some, or most, of the Washington sniper's victims have been spared? If, as in Australia, guns could not be kept in a residence where a mentally ill person lives, wouldn't the whole Newtown tragedy have been averted? Why is it that neither Miller nor the NRA call for proper background checks on ALL gun sales? Wouldn't that cut down on the number of guns in the bad guys hands? Why shouldn't gun owners be required to take periodic safety training, or at least a test, as well as psychiatric evaluation? Why should gun regulations in any public place be any more lax than they are in the White House, Congress and Supreme Court? LaPierre did call for a national registry of the mentally ill, but I have yet to hear him reverse the NRA's objection to checking potential gun purchasers against the terrorist watch list.
Miller says he won't be a sheep. This brings to mind Ruby Ridge, Waco, Wounded Knee and Philadelphia - good luck to him and his AR15 should Mr. Obama decide to send a hellfire missile his way. What unsheeplike action has he taken regarding the massive theft by Wall St. crooks? What plans does he have for when the bipartisan corporate puppets in Washington gut Social Security and Medicare?
The vision, conjured up by Miller's opening sentence, of "Captain Conservative" - as Miller styles himself - in his "lair" "cling [ing] to religion and guns" is revealing and, frankly, gives me the creeps. Wouldn't we all be better off if people like Miller clung to teddy bears instead? And put a lid on their hollow bravado?